In a Psychology Today article, psychiatrist, Neel Burton, M.D., suggests that negative messages, physical illness, stressful life events or a general feeling of lack of control in your life can feed low self-esteem, as can traumatic childhood experiences and abandonment. Low self-esteem can result from depression as untreated depression can lead to low self-esteem. Women with low self-esteem may develop a victim mentality, which can make it increasingly difficult to see the world in a positive manner and assert themselves.
Misery Loves Company
The longer a woman suffers with chronic low self-esteem, the more helpless and paralyzed she may feel when it comes to making changes in her thoughts and behaviors. Without being aware of it, she may seek out people in her life who reinforce her negative view regarding herself and those around her. Burton recommends seeking out the support of friends or family members who she can rely on to help her to begin to seek out the company of positive people. While it's not necessary to ditch negative company completely, it can be helpful to steer clear of them until she has a better handle on her self-worth.
Negative to Positive
Changing how women see themselves is a process and some women may need the help of a professional to do so. All women have the potential to make changes and be successful in their lives. The next time something negative happens, take the opportunity to turn it around into a positive situation, according to the article, "Seven Steps to Self-Esteem," published on the Oregon State University website. For example, if your self-esteem is suffering because you didn't get the promotions you worked so hard for, take a step back and decide what you can do instead. You may find new opportunities by going back to school and increasing your career potential.
Little experiences can teach women big lessons. Rather than wait for her husband or a handyman to fix the ding in the wall behind the bathroom door, she can grab the spackle and do it herself. Small successes make a woman feel accomplished and good about herself. This feeling can propel her into taking more risks and developing increased self-confidence and esteem. In a Psych Central article, Maud Purcell, LCSW, recommends that women should stay with their goals with the attitude that they can do it. By acting confidently, women will begin to feel it as well. They can also pay attention to other women in their lives who take risks and have a healthy sense of self-esteem and enlist one or more of them as their mentor.
The Doctor is In
Psychotherapy , particularly goal-directed therapy, is helpful for women suffering with self-esteem issues, according to the article, "Self-Esteem," published on Good Therapy.org. Whether seen as an individual, in a group or as pet therapy, goal-directed therapy can help women to uncover the reasons for their low self-esteem while developing a plan to take steps to strengthen their sense of self. For example, if a woman is competitive and makes a practice of comparing herself to others, she may feel inadequate when she doesn't measure up to her standards. This can affect her self-esteem. If she delivered a less than stellar speech at her last work-related conference, her therapist can help her to devise a plan to deal effectively with setbacks such as these in a manner that is not intertwined with her self-worth.
Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.